Author: Gretchen Soderlund
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
View: 3618During the first half of the nineteenth century, the penny presses of the industrial East treated brothels as a mundane, if annoying, aspect of city life. But later in the century, reformers and mainstream papers began to push back against this representation through highly public campaigns against “white slavery.” These newspaper crusades mixed a potent cocktail of lurid sexual detail and sensationalist scandal aimed equally at promoting anti-vice measures, arousing popular demand for progressive reform, and increasing newspaper circulation. In Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism, Gretchen Soderlund offers a new way to understand sensationalism in both newspapers and reform movements. By tracing the history of high-profile print exposés on sex trafficking by journalists like William T. Stead and George Kibbe Turner, Soderlund demonstrates how controversies over gender, race, and sexuality were central to the shift from sensationalism to objectivity—and crucial to the development of journalism in the early twentieth century.